Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 49
I have to laugh every time I hear Thais say that farangs don't understand Thai culture and Thais and Thai history and Thailand. Really? Let's put it to the test. We'll have a quiz show on Thai TV that pits the farangs against the Thais and all of the questions will be about Thailand and Thai history and Thai culture and the Thais. If a farang wins he/she gets instant Thai citizenship and a high paying no-show job in the government as well as a government pension for life. If the Thai contestant loses he/she will be deported to Laos with no papers. Since farangs are so dumb and Thais are so smart we will handicap it three to one. For every question a farang gets right, a Thai will have to get three questions right. That should be fair, right? After all, the farangs don't know anything about Thais or Thailand or Thai culture or Thai history. We'll see! The farang contestants must have lived and worked in Thailand at least seven years. The Thai contestants will be drawn at random from taxi cab drivers who are driving taxis without meters. I will be in charge of everything. That means the commercials will be for those Thai women's shampoo products. You know the ones I mean. The commercials that make time stop as a young, curvy, fertile, innocent, fabulously beautiful father's daughter makes her long, black, shiny hair wave around. Anyway, back to the quiz show. We will call the show Farangs vs. Thais: Who Knows More? It will be aired during prime time and sponsors will fight for airtime. It will make a fortune. The money will be used to . . . . well, I'm going to keep all the money. That's not really important. What's important is the educational value of the thing. At last Thais will see that there are farangs that love and appreciate and know about their wonderful culture and interesting customs and valued history and engaging people. Plus, we get to rub their noses in it.
"NO THEY DON'T"
I was once in a conversation with a Thai friend of mine here in the States. This woman is bi-cultural, highly educated with two Master's degrees in the States, came here as a Fulbright scholar, multi-lingual, fully employed in the States and married to an American. A better chance for a Thai-farang connection you will never find. I made a remark about the Thai language being hard for westerners to learn because unlike a lot of other languages; it is not simply an alphabet with rules but a ‘song'. It is a tonal language where each spelled word can have different meanings depending on the tone that is used to pronounce the word. So it is not a spoken language but a sung language and the singing part increases the level of difficulty for westerners trying to learn to speak the language. The reason Thais can speak Thai is not because they are so smart or because the language is so easy; it is because they start hearing the song from the time they are born. They learn to sing their language. My friend responds that Thai is not a difficult language! OK. Honestly, it made me wonder what I was talking to her for in the first place. What's the point in the face of such jingoism? So because she is a friend of mine and I value our friendship I decide to defuse the situation and say something that we can both agree on regarding the Thai language. I smiled and said, "Well, you are probably right–but Thais do often have long difficult last names." To which she said, "No they don't."
Later that day I was reading the Bangkok Post dated 10/31/2003 and I saw these last names:
Later in the Post dated 11/17/03 I spotted:
and recently (6/1/04) I spotted on the net without even trying:
Maybe she is right. Maybe these are not long difficult Thai last names. And maybe I am really nineteen years old and 6'4" tall. If these are not long difficult Thai last names then I just give up. Honestly, I think there is no hope sometimes. If two educated people can't agree on something like this than East and West are just never going to meet in the middle. So I just added that to the list of things I can't talk to Thais about. Too bad.
POWDER NEVER LIES
It is the third day and now the night for Pim and I. I could fall for this girl. It's been seamless. I am getting close to the part of your emotional life where you stop waiting for the other shoe to fall. It's like this just before you push all the chips into the middle of the table and say, "I love you!" But maybe one more bluff won't hurt. I leave my wallet on the bureau next to the TV before we go to bed. Nothing else is on the bureau except the wallet. It's like a beacon on the horizon. Impossible to miss if this is the harbor you are looking for. The wallet is empty–but all wallets look full to some.
After Pim is breathing deeply I creep out of the bed and get the big can of talcum powder I bought earlier at Foodland. I cut the top off with a razor blade and spread the powder on the rug from the bathroom to the bureau that has the wallet sitting on it. With the lights out you can't see the power. Back to bed. And asleep. No reason to wait up. The powder will witness the night.
In the morning I am first up. From the bathroom door to the wallet on the bureau there are footprints in the powder. Maybe I'll fall in love with the next girl.
I sense more than a bit of animosity, perhaps even a bit of hatred here… Readers should note that a whole section had to be edited because our hosts would absolutely not have approved of it.